The chemical analysis of ceramic fabrics from medieval Dorset and its region
The assemblages from the thirteenth century kilns at Hermitage in Dorset and Laverstock in Wiltshire were studied, and the visual variability in the kiln groups was quantified. A total of eighty sherds of the one Hermitage, and two Laverstock, wares were selected. 160 powdered ceramic samples were taken and dissolved, and the liquid samples were subjected to analysis by Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometry for a suite of ten elements. Statistical analyses confirmed that the two groups of kiln products could be separated using data from very few elements, and so a smaller suite of the four 'best discriminators' was identified.A detailed study of the medieval ceramics found in Dorset and the surrounding counties in the last fifty years was executed. This enabled the targeting of thosecollections likely to prove most useful in extending an understanding, through chemical analysis, of medieval ceramic production in the region. A study of the settlements that provided the 'market place' for medieval ceramics was also executed, to aid in identifying the size and nature of ceramic distribution networks. Chemical analyses were carried out on ceramics from twenty-two 'settlement sites' and a number of small m.e dieval and post-medieval waster collections. Multivariate statistical analyses enabled these groups of sherds to be, either matched with the known kiln groups, or placed in 'new' groups of unknown provenance. From the spatial and temporal distributions identified for these chemically-identified types, a much more complete picture of the ceramic producers active in the Dorset region in the medieval period has been gained.